By Elizabeth Barber
FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) - The trial of former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez will resume next week after a judge on Friday rejected a bid by defense attorneys to throw out the case.
Prosecutors say Hernandez, who played tight end for the New England Patriots, and two friends gunned down semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd in an industrial park in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, before dawn on June 17, 2013.
They say Hernandez and Lloyd had a disagreement at a nightclub two nights before.
Prosecutors rested their case on Thursday after calling more than 120 witnesses. The trial began in late January.
Defense lawyers argued on Friday that the prosecution failed to prove the counts of first degree murder and possession of a firearm, but Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh denied their request to dismiss the charges.
The defense has said they do not dispute evidence placing Hernandez in the industrial park on the night Lloyd was killed.
However they claim the prosecution has not proved Hernandez had a plan, motive or intent to kill Lloyd or that he knowingly participated in the murder.
No weapon has been found.
Hernandez’s defense is expected to be brief. The first witness is likely to be Dr. David Greenblatt, an expert on the hallucinogenic drug PCP.
Defense attorneys have hinted they may argue that Hernandez’s accused accomplices, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, were high on drugs when they allegedly shot Lloyd six times.
The two men are due to be tried separately for murder.
If convicted, Hernandez, 25, faces possible life in prison.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Bernard Orr)